21 November 2010

Client Work - A Love/Hate Relationship?

So . Long time no blog.

I have truly missed blogging. Not the writing part. I am doing enough of that writing clients reports. I miss the informality, spontaneity and camaraderie of blogging. With Christmas coming soon, I have almost doubled my client work. Seems giving "family" to a family member is a hot gift this year. I am not complaining, after all this is why I spent the last 7 years attending classes, conferences, discussion groups, etc. - To become a professional and take clients, right? It has become painfully obvious to me the need for more instruction in how to achieve a better balance of work time versus me time.

Speaking of time management: The hardest part of doing client work, being a professional genealogist? Staying within the parameters of a project timewise. Here is a prime example:

Let's say a client contracts 4 hours of time for research which includes a written, documented report of your research plan,findings , analysis of said findings and recommendations for further research.

At the 3 1/2 hour mark (the other 1/2 is used to write report), you say to yourself, "I just know that if I search that one more ______(fill in the blank), I will have twice as much information for the client."

We all know the math:

Twice as much info for client = You now have Rockstar status with client

So now you are 6 hours into the project and still need to write the report which will now take you way longer than 1/2 hour because you added all that extra information.

End result: I did twice the amount of work for the contracted fee. Sure, the client was extremely pleased and maybe more work will come from client or referrals . . but what has really happened?

The client thinks that you did all that work in 4 hours and will expect that level of performance for that same fee in any future research. And if you take a look at your ledger book, you and your business took it in the shorts.

Everyday I learn something new . . .

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